launch nationwide climate caravan
By The Climate Reality
September 10, 2015
MANILA – The global
movement founded by Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al
Gore launched a Philippine-wide climate caravan to raise awareness on
the importance of collective action to address climate change and
gather grassroots support to encourage world leaders to come up with a
strong climate agreement in Paris during the 21st Conference of
Parties (COP21) come December.
As significant part of the
Road to Paris campaign initiated by The Climate Reality Project (CRP),
the climate caravan focuses on the roles of the Filipino youth and the
local government units to galvanise community climate action. In
partnership with Dakila - Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism,
the campaign aims to promote climate heroism among the young people.
“We are launching our newest
campaign for the Filipino young people called Bakit, Bakit Hindi?, an
adaptation of CRP’s Why? Why Not? Initiative in 2014, which is mainly
a social media campaign aiming to bring forward the Filipino youth as
catalyzers of collective action in the lead-up to the Paris Climate
negotiations,” said CRP country manager Rodne Galicha.
In this campaign, young
people will be given the opportunity to ask probing questions to
government officials, Philippine negotiators and environmental
agencies such as the DENR and the Climate Change Commission through
“These videos will be
utilized to stimulate discourse via social media over the next few
months, especially during our nationwide climate caravan, where
climate volunteers will hold dialogues with local government units,
vulnerable communities such as indigenous groups, women and children,
as well as youth representatives from all regions nationwide. We,
therefore, encourage local government units and their respective
councils to issue resolutions in behalf of their people to call on
world leaders to sign a strong and bold climate agreement,” said
Representing Luzon youth
delegates from eight regions of Luzon, youth leader Marlex Tuson from
Ateneo de Manila University who participated in the Road to Paris
Filipino Youth Climate Consultation and Workshop stressed the
collective action of the young people to influence drastic change and
“The trauma of experiencing
the ill-effects of typhoons in the Bicol region, it pains me. But it’s
a different sense of fulfillment I feel when I do the things I'm
really passionate about. It draws a smile that hides no worries of
sustaining the energy in pursuing the cause,” said Tuson.
The Philippine campaign
specifically aims to strengthen the country’s Intended Nationally
Determined Contributions (INDC), lobby for gradual but sustained
phase-out of coal-fired power plants and the implementation of the
People’s Survival Fund, and emphasizes the human rights approach to
the climate crisis issue by putting the concerns of the most
vulnerable communities including indigenous groups, women, and the
“The Road to Paris
initiative aims to gather millions of signatures from all over the
world urging parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) to finalize a bold climate agreement. We’re
working in eight pivotal countries – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China,
India, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United States – to rally
millions to support practical climate solutions like renewable energy
and tip the balance for a successful agreement in Paris,” said Don
Henry, Public Policy Fellow at the University of Melbourne and member
of the international Board of CRP.
As special envoy of CRP’s
founder Al Gore, Henry explained that the Road to Paris campaign is
uniting citizens, corporations, and organizations on every continent
to demand a strong agreement at COP21 that will dramatically cut
emissions and accelerate the planet-wide shift to clean energy.
“The Philippines has a
unique opportunity to be a leader at home and on the world stage with
tackling the climate crisis. Having a ‘green development path’ that
builds jobs and innovation in renewable energy and adaptation to
climate change is a great opportunity for the Philippines. This can
help reduce greenhouse pollution and grow jobs. The Philippines can
play a global leadership role at the international climate
negotiations in Paris. Already the Philippines voice has been
persuasive. The country can urge all countries to act to achieve a
strong international climate agreement,” said Henry.
Joining CRP’s campaign for a
strong climate agreement is United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction and
Climate Change Champion Senator Loren B. Legarda, chairperson of the
Senate Committee on Climate Change and principal author of the Climate
Change Act and the People’s Survival Fund Act.
“We need to explain the
human face of climate change. It is not just a scientific and
environmental issue but an all-encompassing threat to our basic human
rights – food, potable water, shelter, decent livelihood and life
itself. We need leaders who are informed so that they can make
ordinary people understand the climate crisis and be able to connect
it to issues of everyday life,” said Legarda.
Legarda further emphasized
‘that leaders must pave the way for the needed paradigm shift from an
extractive and consumptive economics to sustainable development. We
should veer away from the throwaway culture and aim for a zero waste,
low-carbon economy. We have to undertake resilience measures to ensure
that communities are able to adapt to the changing climate and at the
same time contribute to preventing further rise in global
“Moreover, our country’s
intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) should reflect a
strong stance towards deep cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a
way to mitigate climate change. It is unfortunate, however, that we
continue to witness coal plants being constructed. In the past five
years alone, 21 coal-fired power plant projects were granted an
Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC),” said Legarda.
Representing the indigenous
peoples of the country, Representative Teddy Baguilat of the lone
district of Ifugao emphasized the challenge of the climate crisis to
the resiliency of the indigenous knowledge, systems and practices.
“Our indigenous peoples have
survived through the years. Positively, our traditional way of life
assures us of our resolve to continually adapt to the changing
patterns of the climate. We may be affected by this ecological crisis
but our contribution to humanity to solve it has been consistent while
we live in harmony with nature,” said Baguilat.
Asserting the need to
rethink development models which harm the environment, Baguilat said
that pending bills on land use, mining and forestry, must be approved
immediately to help reduce the ill-effects of climate change.
Journalist and applied
physics graduate Atom Araullo, who himself experienced the wrath of
Typhoon Haiyan, regard climate change as the most important issue that
“The climate crisis is
perhaps the most important issue that humanity faces, and we’ve only
begun to work on the solutions. Even though the science is clear and
the effects are being felt, it’s alarming that we still continue our
path toward self-destruction,” Araullo said.
Climate Reality Project
volunteer since 2009, Atty. Persida Rueda-Acosta, chief of the Public
Attorney’s Office of the country, emphasized the rights-based approach
to climate action ‘must be practiced and age specific requirements met
in conducting disaster relief’.
“As the climate crisis, such
as Typhoon Haiyan unleashes its wrath, my thoughts are on the
vulnerable sectors in our society. Women, children and even the
elderly become even more vulnerable in times of disasters. They suffer
the brunt of natural calamities. During these times, the authorities
must be vigilant in the protection of their rights especially that of
women and children who are prone to human trafficking,’ said Acosta.
Famous mountaineer Gideon
Lasco, a medical doctor and anthropologist, encouraged advocates to
physically experience nature to appreciate its importance to humanity.
“I see promise in the idea
of passion as basis for advocacy. Divers would care about coral reefs,
mountaineers will care about mountains, travelers will care about all
natural sights that they see. My advocacy is to make people care about
issues affecting the environment by making them appreciate what the
outdoors is all about,” Lasco said.
As official courier partner
of CRP’s Road to Paris campaign together with the Global Catholic
Climate Movement (GCCM) and the Ecological Society of the Philippines
(ESP), JRS Express celebrating its 55th year founding anniversary
committed to deliver actual petition forms for free.
“We are proud, honored and
privileged to partner with the Catholic Church on the Climate Reality
Project to send a strong message to the members of the COP 21 in Paris
and all the people and leaders of the global world that our planet and
people are dying all because the development model refuses to stop
greenhouse gas emissions and continue with their destructive and
greedy ways. It is hoped that we will be able to get 20 million people
to sign this petition. In line with Pope Francis encyclical the
Laudato Si we must change our ways and protect Gods creation. And we
vow to do so,” said Antonio Claparols, president of JRS Express and
transport, COMET electric vehicle operator Global Electric Transport
(GET) committed to support CRP’s Road to Paris campaign and has
entered the field to make a difference. GET provides a solution to the
country’s growing problems on mobility with an intelligent, integrated
and sustainable mass transport system built around energy-efficient
electric vehicles, born out of a mission to build green and
“Apart from advocating
environment-friendly practices, GET has set out to genuinely make a
change in the lives of people, most especially the marginalized group
such as public utility drivers. GET believes that progress has never
been about profits alone, it has always been about giving back to the
people and mother nature, thereby pledging full support to the Climate
Reality Project. Together, we can make a difference,” said Anthony Dy,
GET country managing director.
Engaging with the climate
campaign, the Cravings Group, with ISO certification on environmental
management issued by TÜV Rheinland Philippines Inc., committed to
reduce waste and harmful effects on the environment and recycle
materials where needed.
“Together with green chefs,
lifestyle change advocates and environmental homemakers, let us all
learn how to run a green kitchen: from proper waste resource
management to using organically-grown vegetables and meet and to
newfound ways of preparing and eating food,” Cravings Group said in a
The Road to Paris campaign’s
climate caravan initiative is also done in collaboration with the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Environmental
Management Bureau (DENR-EMB), the Climate Change Commission’s #NOWPH
Greeneration program with the National Youth Commission (NYC).
Partners supporting the
campaign includes Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, Bayay Sibuyanon Inc., ISDA,
Loyola Mountaineers, Manila Water, Lorimar Publications and Uratex.
rates in Metro Manila improved by 50% says Save the Children's State
of the World's Mothers report
Philippines ranked 105 out
of 179th in best and toughest places to be a mom
By Save the Children
May 6, 2015
MANILA – Metro Manila
was among top cities in the world to cut child mortality rates among
urban poor, according to 2015 State of the World’s Mothers global
index published by Save the Children.
The annual global mother’s
index report reveals that in the last 20 years, child survival rates
among the urban poor in Metro Manila, have improved in comparison to
other developing countries. Between 1993 and 2008, the child mortality
rate went from 81 to 38 deaths per 1,000 lives deaths. Over this
period of time, the poorest urban children went from being 4 times as
likely to die to being twice as likely to die compared to their
wealthy peers. The capital region has also achieved about 4% reduction
in under-5 mortality per year since 1998.
Metro Manila’s success comes
from improved quality of services, public-private partnerships,
structural reforms and health care innovations introduced to the local
government units and sustained involvement of civil society in
maternal and child health care programs.
Despite progress, the global
study cited the National Statistics Office (NSO data) which suggests
that 1 in 5 infants who died in 2010 were in the capital region. While
health facilities and obstetric care are physically more accessible in
the capital region, the report revealed that many poor people still
could not afford associated health costs.
As progress in child
survival continues to be localized and in some areas stalls, Save the
Children Philippines is working alongside the government and families
to ensure that the good work continues and children, particularly
those in Manila are given every opportunity to fulfill their
In this year’s country
ranking of the State of the World’s Mothers report, which ranks the
wellbeing of mothers and children, Philippines maintains its place
from last year at number 105 out of 179 countries, behind Vietnam,
Thailand and Malaysia in South East Asia. The country is just ahead of
Timor-Leste and Indonesia.
Ned Olney, Country Director
of Save the Children, says: “The progress we have seen in the past two
decades shows that closing the child survival gap between rich and the
poor is attainable. But cities need to keep up with the breakneck
growth as thousands of mothers and children in cities still have
limited access to essential health services, food and clean water they
need to survive and stay healthy. Save the Children is calling for
strict implementation of maternal, child and newborn health care
programs, including infant and young child feeding and increased local
government investment to trainings for frontline health workers”.
“If Philippines is going to
complete the task of ending preventable child and maternal deaths, we
have to continue to find better ways of getting health care to urban
populations, regardless of income”, he added.
Mayor Alan Adlawan (third from left) led the unveiling of the
marker of a new school building of Asturias Central School. With
him are (left to right) school Guidance Councilor Ana Noemi
Buhia, Town Councilor Letecia Orozco, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation
Inc. (RAFI) Micro-finance deputy director for operations Ailyn
Lim, RAFI Education Development Unit executive Director Anthony
Dignadice, and RAFI Micro-finance Cebu south area manager Naomi
No school’s too far
By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation
March 20, 2015
CEBU CITY – For a
school in a far-flung barangay to become a recipient of well-built
classrooms would seem like an unlikely reality to its teachers and
pupils. For who would notice them when they are located far, far away?
With its goal of extending
help in rural areas and providing public school children with a better
and quality learning environment, however, the Ramon Aboitiz
Foundation Inc. (RAFI), ably supported by its partners, definitely
Last February 13, RAFI, the
local government of Asturias town, and the Department of Education (DepEd)
turned over 24 classrooms (eight school buildings) in seven schools of
The recipients were the
elementary schools of Barangays Lunas II, Owak, Baye, San Isidro, Tag-amakan,
and Sta. Lucia, and the Asturias Central School.
The total cost of the
project, which was in line with RAFI Education Development Unit’s
(EDU) School Rehabilitation Program, was P16.31 million.
RAFI-EDU Executive Director
Anthony Dignadice said the foundation extending assistance to Asturias
is also a result of its being the “most consistent partner in (the
school) rehabilitation program,” because “education has been their
(town officials) first priority”.
The teachers and students,
too, was grateful of the effort.
“Happy kaayo mi unya naka-feel
mi we’re not left behind bisag unsa kalayo. Kay naay ni-care ug ni-support.
Guba kaayo among building naayo na. We hope that the commitment will
continue and they will not lose interest,” said Sta. Lucia Elementary
School Principal Lucita Ynoy after formally receiving on behalf of
DepEd the new classrooms.
Under her leadership, the
school also used the excess paint in beautifying the other classrooms
and excess cement for the school ground so the classrooms would not
get muddy when it rains.
“Thank you. Even though our
place is very far, they still spent time and gave us importance,” also
said Baye Elementary School teacher Regielito Almerez.
Baye Elementary School, on
the other hand, used the excess materials in constructing a new school
gate and additional comfort rooms for students.
And despite her young age,
Janine Raelas, a Grade 1 pupil of Sta. Lucia Elementary School, was
appreciative of her new classroom.
”Thank you kay gitagaan mi
bag-ong classroom. Daghan na mi ug classroom,” she beamed, a sweet
smile radiating from her face.
Kids like her makes those
distant schools never too far.
Recovering from the
consequences of armed conflicts and natural disasters
February 23, 2015
MANILA – Many
residents in the province of Samar are struggling to cope with the
consequences of protracted armed conflicts, compounded by powerful
typhoons that have hit this underdeveloped area of central Philippines
in recent years.
Merita Dacutanan, who
depends on planting rice and corn to feed her family, finds life to be
very difficult. "Sometimes it is unsafe to go into farming because of
sporadic firefights," the 55-year-old farmer from Cataydongan village,
in the municipality of San Jose de Buan, said. "Life gets even harder
when we are battered by a typhoon.”
In December last year,
typhoons such as Hagupit, locally known as Ruby, brought strong winds
and dumped torrential rains on Samar and other provinces of central
Philippines, damaging crops and other sources of livelihood.
In Samar, the vast majority
– some say at least 90 percent – of the population is involved in
farming. Rice, vegetables and coconut are the principal products grown
in this part of central Philippines.
Poverty and food insecurity
push the residents to the margins of society. Responding to these
needs, the ICRC and the Philippine Red Cross assisted 388 families in
four villages of San Jose de Buan – Can-aponte, Cataydongan, Hagbay
and San Nicolas – in January this year. The residents received
vegetable seed, fertilizer, agricultural tools such as back-pack
sprayers and machetes, and cash incentives.
"The assistance programme is
intended to support the livelihoods of the people in these communities
and improve their overall farm productivity," said Sabine Gralla, head
of the ICRC's office in Tacloban.
Generating more income
Dacutanan, a recipient of
vegetable seed and agricultural hand tools, said the assistance will
help her family get their feet back on the ground: "Our lives will
improve and become normal again because we can generate more income."
Meanwhile, Dacutanan receives financial support from the ICRC so she
can regularly visit her brother detained in Catbalogan Provincial Jail
in connection with the armed conflict.
Marciano Babatyo, 70, a
resident of Can-aponte village, obtained a cash incentive that will be
used to purchase swine. He explained that livestock raising will pave
the way to earning more income so he can help his youngest son finish
school. "This assistance is such a big help," said Marciano.
Aimed at enhancing
livelihoods, the ICRC projects in these communities are based on a
community participatory approach. The beneficiaries are involved in
identifying and designing the assistance and are placed at the heart
of the decision-making process.
"The farmers were asked to
decide what activities they wanted to pursue – such as swine raising
or vegetable planting – as well as the resources they needed, and to
propose ideas on how to make their resources or tools sustainable in
the long term," ICRC agronomist Marcos Bollido explained.
Signs of resilience
Although many of their
livelihoods and properties were destroyed in December last year,
residents have shown resilience and remain empowered to restore their
Merlina Pacimos, 47, another
Can-aponte village resident, said the quality of the seed and the
agricultural hand tools she and her husband received will allow them
to have a fresh start after Typhoon Hagupit destroyed all their crops
and damaged their house.
"The earnings from the
vegetable harvest will go towards eventually rebuilding our partially
damaged house," Merlina said. "We will work hard to survive the
Aside from providing
livelihood support to communities in various parts of the Philippines,
the ICRC, a neutral and independent humanitarian organization whose
mandate is to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other
situations of violence, also visits detainees and promotes compliance
with international humanitarian law.
The ICRC has been working in
the Philippines for over 60 years, with a permanent presence since
1982. It has offices in Manila, Visayas (Bacolod, Catarman, Marabut
and Tacloban), and Mindanao (Bislig, Cotabato, Davao and Zamboanga).
Amelita, 31, a woman who gave birth during
'Hagupit' sits by Save the Children's 'BEACON' Box.
(Photo by Save the Children)
Baby born during
‘Ruby’ with Save the Children’s ‘BEACON’ birthing box
Save the Children
December 11, 2014
VILLABA, Leyte –
While Ruby pummeled the community around them, Amelita, 31, and
husband Remy, cried with joy after the birth of their first baby boy.
The baby was born in a town
near Ormoc that was badly hit by Haiyan. The couple were ably assisted
by experienced midwife Criselda, 46, who said she wouldn’t have done
it without Save the Children’s ‘BEACON’ box, a storm-proof box that
contains clean birthing supplies such as sterile blades, alcohol,
flashlight and even a birth certificate, to help a pregnant woman
deliver safely during and immediately after a disaster. Criselda says,
“When I found out about Ruby, I knew there were pregnant women in the
village due to give birth that time. I took the BEACON box to our
village so that we were prepared”
Save the Children’s ‘BEACON’
box or ‘Birthing Essentials and Care of Newborns’ project was based on
the organization’s work and experience in ‘Haiyan’- hit areas. Over 1
million people lost access to full health services when Yolanda hit
Central Philippines – yet it was estimated that more than 750 births
were due to take place every single day in the typhoon-hit areas. The
severe impact of the storm forced many women to deliver in damaged
health facilities, at home, or in the open environment, without the
availability of clean supplies and electricity endangering the lives
of the mothers and the children.
“In the middle of typhoon
Ruby, my wife was in pain and about to give birth. I rushed to the
midwife’s house with my motorcycle. It was a difficult road and I had
to clear trees out of the way that had fallen down”, Remy said.
Amelita’s husband took the
midwife back to his home to help his wife as she went into labour.
“It was difficult because
there was no electricity but I had everything I needed in the BEACON
box to help her deliver safely. I even used the flashlight that was
inside. I thank Save the Children for providing us with the clean
birthing kits”, the midwife added.
As she tried to recall what
happened that night, Amelita said: "I was worried about the welfare of
my baby because the winds were strong. I had a difficulty giving birth
because it was. Of all my pregnancies, this was the longest because it
was cold and I was losing strength.
“We will call our baby boy,
Remy, Jr. after my husband”, said Amelita, who after four pregnancies,
finally had her first boy. “The BEACON box was a big help for me
because it helped deliver my baby safely.”
The same night midwife
Criselda was called on to deliver a baby at one evacuation center.
Fortunately this time, it was just a just normal labor pain brought
about by distress during the storm.